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Oil cleansing for oily skin

Oil cleansing is an increasingly popular face cleansing method, which replaces soap or detergent cleansers with natural oils. Oil is applied to the face, then wiped away – gently removing makeup and grimy sebum with it without stripping the skin's natural oils. People with oily skin may recoil at the idea of cleansing with oils but as we learn more about the intricate workings of our skin, its delicate balance of lipids and moisture and the all-important microbiome, the old guard is giving way to a new regime. We examine the arguments for oil cleansing if you have oily skin or oily skin prone to breakouts.

Why cleanse with oil?

The dirt and make-up on your face is mixed with oily sebum. Traditional cleansers and soap emulsify oils allowing you to wash away the dirt. However, this causes a problem for a lot of people – the harsh chemicals used to strip away these impurities also emulsify the natural oils of your skin, causing visible dryness short-term, and sometimes skin barrier disorders long-term.

Oil cleansing is based on the principle ‘like dissolves like’. Adding oil to the skin allows you to wipe away the dirt, without affecting the skins natural oils.

It’s a common misconception that using oil on the skin will make the skin more oily and traditional products for oily skin are usually astringent, designed to strip away excess sebum. Experts and consumers are now realising the skin tends to compensate for having its oil removed by over-producing it for the rest of the day, often causing that oily shine we all know and hate and contributing to clogged pores and subsequent blemishes.

Soap and cleansers are also very alkaline and are known to cause irritation and adversely affect the skin’s microbiome . Plant oils are much closer to the skin’s natural PH level and will not destroy the microbiome. Disturbances in the skin barrier (or stratum corneum) and the composition of the skin microbiome have also been linked to skin health, and the presence, or aggravation of, skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne, allergies or even the skin’s ageing processes. This may be why experts recommend oil cleansing with non comedegenic oils, even for oily or acne-prone skin.

The benefits of oil cleansing

Just like soaps, natural plant oils will dissolve makeup, dirt, excess sebum and unclog pores (as long as the oils are non-comedogenic) – but unlike soaps, when wiped away they will leave your skin healthy and hydrated…and your skin microbiome unharmed.

Unsurprisingly, treating your skin well reflects in its appearance. People who replace artificial cleansers with oil cleansing often report:

  • Fuller, more hydrated skin 
  • Reduced irritation
  • The disappearance of oily shine
  • Less blemishes

OK, what oil should I use?

If you go the DIY path, there’s a wide range of oils you can select or combine based on your skin type or personal preference.  Ideally, you want to use a combination of humectants, antioxidants and antibacterials. But the most important thing is to use high quality, cold-pressed oils. You’re looking for unrefined and organic.

If you fancy letting someone handle the complicated stuff so you can just enjoy the benefits, look no further than Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm (also available unfragranced those sensitive to essential oils). It contains a great blend of non-comedogenic natural plant oils for any skin type including Babassu, Shea Butter and Jojoba and our homegrown Calendula extract. 

How to oil cleanse with Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm

1. Firstly, ensure your face is completely dry – then take a roughly pea-sized dab of oil and rub it all over your face. Massage it gently but thoroughly into your skin for a few seconds or longer if you feel like pampering yourself.

2. Run a clean flannel under a hot tap (so it is comfortably warm) and press it against your face. Allow the steam to loosen the oils gently releasing dirt and grime from the surface of your skin.

3. Then gently wipe away the residue with the flannel, and you’re done!

This should leave your skin glowing and feeling amazing! Remember to wash your flannel under hot water then hang out to dry straight afterwards – a soggy flannel is a breeding ground for bad bacteria on the side of the sink or in the washing basket. Wer rec

This can be a very quick and simple skincare regime, great for those on the go or those who don’t get much time (we’re all mums here, we know the feeling) or can be a part of a greater regime. The little one-pot wonder stand-alone method is more than enough, but if you feel the need to further hydrate your skin we also have a range of other products available.

The double cleanse option

The trend known as Korean Beauty has made oil cleansing more popular for those with oily skin. The system is built around the double cleanse. A double cleanse is an oil cleanse followed by the use of a water-based foaming cleanser. Now we at Lyonsleaf are not so keen on this, we think the second cleanse would remove the lovely oils that the oil cleanse has just preserved. However, if you remove all the make-up and grime with the oil cleanse first, your second foaming cleanse can be a much more gentle affair as it only serves to remove any excess oil left on the skin after wiping with the hot flannel. Indeed, this may enable you to use cooler water to oil cleanse which is more gentle, and if you follow with a very gentle foaming wash that is free from Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and uses one of the more gentle antimicrobial preservatives preferably ph balanced, this could be a great regime for those who find straight oil cleansing unpalatable. 

What do you think?

Do you use oil cleansing for oily skin? - or do you have a different skin type? What's your prefered method?

Share the love and tell us in the comments. Thanks for reading Vicky x